Barack and Michelle Obama have signed book deals thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds and plan to donate a “significant portion” of their proceeds to charity, including to the Obama Foundation.
The former president and first lady have signed with Penguin Random House, the publisher announced Tuesday. It did not disclose financial terms or confirm titles and release dates for the books.
Both Obamas have published through Crown, a Penguin Random House imprint. But Penguin Random House declined to comment on which imprint or imprints the books would be released through.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs Obama,” Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement.
“With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance.”
The Obamas were represented in negotiations by Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly. Barnett has worked on deals with Obama’s two immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and with Michelle Obama’s predecessors Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush.
Barack Obama’s book, according to the Associated Press, is a strong contender to attract the largest advance for any ex-president; the previous record is believed to be $15 million (£12 million) for Bill Clinton’s “My Life.”
The unique dual arrangement is for books that are among the most anticipated in memory from a former president and first lady.
Obama is widely regarded as one of the finest prose stylists among modern presidents, and his million-selling “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” are considered essential to his rise to the White House.
His wife has given few details about her time as first lady: Her only book is about food and gardening, “American Grown,” released in 2012. Both Obamas are widely popular with the public in the US and abroad.
The books will reflect on the Obamas’ White House years, although Penguin Random House declined to give further details.
A publishing official with knowledge of the negotiations said that Obama’s book will be a straightforward memoir about his presidency, while the first lady plans to write an inspirational work for young people that will draw upon her life story.
Presidential memoirs have contributed little to the literary canon, a tradition many believe Obama will change. But recent books have found large audiences: Clinton’s “My Life” and George W. Bush’s “Decision Points” were million sellers. Books by first ladies, including Hillary Clinton’s.